Red alert declared over floods

SHANGHAI: Large parts of China were reeling from the worst floods in decades as disruption mounted for supply chains, including for personal protective equipment (PPE), vital in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The central city of Wuhan and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang declared red alerts yesterday as heavy rain swelled rivers and lakes.

Wuhan, which is located on the banks of the Yangtze river, warned residents to take precautions as water levels rapidly approached their maximum guaranteed safety level.

China has a four-tier, colour-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe level, followed by orange, yellow and blue.The summer rainy season brings floods to China almost every year but the impact of the disruption they cause is being felt further afield as Chinese goods become more important in global supply chains for various items, including PPE.

Xiantao, just west of Wuhan, is China’s biggest manufacturer of non-woven fabrics used in PPE production. A third of China’s total exports of nonwoven fabric products are from the city.

The giant Three Gorges reservoir, which has been holding back more water to try to ease downstream flood risks, is more than 10m higher than its warning level, with inflows now at more than 50,000 cubic metres a second.

The Poyang lake in Jiangxi province, which is formed from the overspill of the Yangtze, is 2.5m higher than its warning level.

It has expanded by more than 2,000sq km during the flood season, and parts of the surrounding town have been inundated.

Further east, the Tai lake near Shanghai also declared a red alert after its water level rose to nearly a metre higher than its safe level.

Meanwhile, a heavy rainstorm left five people missing as of Thursday night in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, local authorities said.

Torrential rain battered parts of the province, including the cities of Dazhou and Guang’an, from Wednesday night to Thursday night, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.

It disrupted the lives of 109,500 local residents in Dazhou, with five missing and one injured.

A total of 6,324 people have been evacuated so far.

Since June, continuous downpours have lashed large parts of southern China, and the waters of many rivers in the affected regions have exceeded warning levels. — Reuters/China Daily/ANN

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